pad thai

from dave auerbach

Serves 2-3. I frequently double this, see noodle note below.

  • 8 oz rice noodles
  • 12 oz tofu (you can also add cooked shrimp, chicken, or any other form of protein you want)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1-2 green onions, sliced into thin strips about 1 inch long
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts (the thick ones)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp diced garlic, chopped fine
  • 2-3 tbsp chi po (sweet preserved turnip)
  • 4-6 tbsp vegetable oil (the more you use, the better the noodles turn out :-) [NH: Not what I found; with 6, it was too oily ... trying 4 next time.]
  • 1/2 lime cut into wedges for garnish
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt

Plus The Sauce, which is:

  • 3/4 t tamarind concentrate, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2-1 T rooster sauce, or to taste (thai chili garlic sauce, I can never remember the real brand name but it is red and chunky in a clear bottle with a green lid and with a rooster on the front)
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • lime juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 T turbindo or other unrefined sugar (palm sugar is the traditional ingredient)
  • 2 T fish sauce (yum, anchovy extract and MSG!)
  • 1/3 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 T toasted rice powder (optional)

First thing is to soak the Rice Noodles. Use the broad, dried ones. (NOTE: Usually they come in a 16 oz package. 8 oz is enough for 2-3 people, and the noodles cook best if you only cook 8 oz at a time, although since the prep is so much more work than the cooking it is easy to make several batches in a row.)

Soak the noodles for 35 to 45 minutes in very hot water (doesn't need to be boiling, just real hot, out of the tap). If you do this when you start, you can just put the bowl with soaking noodles aside and they will be ready for cooking by the time the prep is finished.

Make the sauce in a bowl by mixing all the ingredients well. The sauce should be a nice balance between sweet (the sugar and tomato) and tangy (the vinegar, tamarind, and lime juice). If it is too sweet, add more vinegar or lime, if it is too tangy add more sugar or tomato paste.

Chop the tofu into cubes and either deep fry of pan fry till well browned. Set aside. will be flexible but still somewhat hard to the tooth). Drain in a colander.

Heat the oil in a wok or wide, deep frying pan over high heat. Fry the garlic till brown, then add the beaten egg and scramble. Throw in half the bean sprouts, the Chi Po (preserved turnip) and half the green onions and fry for about 5 seconds, then add the noodles. Fry the noodles, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes until done (they are done when they are soft and tender). Add the peanuts, the tofu and half the cilantro in the last 30 seconds of cooking. Once the noodles are done, pour the sauce over the noodles, add the rest of the green onions and bean sprouts, stir till combined and the noodles are coated evenly, then remove from heat immediately. The 2nd half of the bean sprouts and green onions should remain almost raw. Garnish with the rest of the cilantro and the lime wedges (and more raw bean sprouts, if you have extra).

- dave auerbach